INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Sen. Richard Lugar can vote in Marion County after a settlement was reached between him and the Marion County Elections Board. However, he will be registering at a new address: his family farm.
Lugar wrote a letter to the Marion County Elections Board that ultimately settled the case. The Republican had been registered to vote at a home he hadn't owned in 35 years. The board ruled that the senator couldn't do that.
"The current owner is Elizabeth Hughes, who had no idea that the Lugars had been using her home as a registered voting address," said Gary Welsh the attorney representing the person who filed the initial complaint with the elections board.
Lugar and his wife have not lived in Indianapolis since 1977, but the address was still in use by the Lugars, so they could vote in Marion County, until now.
"They made the choice to switch their voting registration from the precincts in Wayne Township to the family farm in Decatur Township," said attorney Andrew Mallon, representing the Marion County Elections Board.
In the letter Lugar wrote to the board, he gave a different address, a farm that has been in the Lugar family more than 70 years. While he helped settle the case, his attorney said, Lugar still believes he did nothing wrong.
"We still think that the Constitution provides that the original location was the proper location, but there becomes a point in time when you say, ‘How much do you continue to litigate over something when there's a simple resolution?'" said Lee McNeely, Lugar's attorney.
Now the farm in Decatur Township will be the senator's registered voting address, and attorneys for those who filed the initial complaint said they're happy with the outcome.
"The voter registration laws are supposed to be applied equally to all voters in the state. There aren't supposed to be a special set of rules that apply to the residency of members of Congress or elected officials than apply to other registered voters generally," Welsh said.
Regarding the challenge, Lugar's campaign said in a statement: "This has been completely unchallenged throughout the years, and only in the course of this campaign has it been pushed by his political challengers for mischievous purposes."
Lugar must re-register by April 9 if he wants to vote in the Indiana's Primary Election, set for May 8. The long-time senator is facing a challenge from state Treasurer Richard Murdock in the Republican primary.
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